During times of uncertainty, when I can do nothing but wait to see what will happen and trust that God has everything under control, I find myself coping with the possibility of bad news by trying to prepare myself for the worst. I don’t know if this is a good thing or not, but I seem to have this sense of not wanting to “get my hopes up” ingrained in me. I know I’m just trying to protect myself, but as I was reading in Zephaniah today (I know, who would have thought??), I realized that this is probably not the posture the Lord wants His children to take. I read two different versions and the footnote in my study Bible in order to get a more complete picture of what God seems to be saying in these two verses:
16 On that day
they will say to Jerusalem,
“Do not fear, O Zion;
do not let your hands hang limp.
17 The LORD your God is with you,
he is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you,
he will quiet you with his love,
he will rejoice over you with singing.”
New King James version:
16 In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem:
“Do not fear;
Zion, let not your hands be weak.
17 The LORD your God in your midst,
The Mighty One, will save;
He will rejoice over you with gladness,
He will quiet you with His love,
He will rejoice over you with singing.”
Footnote from The Nelson Study Bible, 1997:
“The people are first commanded to abstain from fear, to keep from hanging their arms in a posture of resignation. Instead, they were to take encouragement and strength from the new reality that their God lived among them.”
I was struck by the command to “not let your hands hang limp,” which painted such a vivid word picture for me. That is exactly the posture I have assumed during this period of waiting, as though to say, “Well, there’s really nothing I can do. I’ll just give up hope so that I won’t be as hurt or disappointed if bad news comes.” AKA, hands hanging limp. The Lord has said very clearly, just as I say to my students, “Fix your posture. It’s showing a bad attitude.”
Not only am I to straighten up, get rid of my defeatist attitude, and remember the hope I have in Christ, I can be comforted and sustained during this time by the beautiful reassurance that “The Lord your God in your midst, the Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.”
I am so thankful to be reminded that we serve a God who saves, the Mighty One who humbled Himself so that He could be in our midst. I am comforted to know that He will quiet me with His love as we wait to see Him continue to be glorified in the carrying out of His perfect plan for us.